Saturday, March 27, 2010

low cost local government

Have a peek at Dominic Carman's video interview with the lovely Mr Griffin -

and what the BNP leader believes is his party's path to power - 'low cost local government'.

How will he achieve that in Barking and Dagenham - by renting out the council HQ (not clear who would want to rent either the Civic Centre or Barking Town Hall, but 10/10 for effort)

He'd 'eliminate' and 'remove' overpaid sneior local bureaucrats and chief executives (so who will help the BNP run Barking and Dagenham council when senior council officers have been given the heave-ho, given that Griffin admits in the interview that none of the BNP's councillors in the country - presumably including Mr Barnbrook and Mr Bailey - have 'a great deal of experience'?)

The BNP leader also says that in addition to getting rid of all the politically correct council departments, his party would break up the council's housing department - and devolve it with a handful of staff in each council ward.....

(Not sure how that would help a council like Barking and Dagenham secure the kind of multimillion funding for new council housing and refurbishment as the council did this week - especially as they will have got rid of all the senior officers who would talk to government and submit bids for new housing to the Homes and Communities Agency).

So there you have it Mr Griffin's four-step guide to low cost local government and then to power and the BNP's promised land.

- renting out concil buildings (so where will the staff work)

- breaking up the housing department

- sacking senior council officers

- getting rid of politially correct council departments...

All in a bid to deliver the lowest council tax in the country.

Only one problem with all of this - if you look at any of the BNP's election literature in Barking and Dagenham - they plan to spend money like water...

They plan to increase the winter fuel allowance to £450.

Restore a full meals on wheels service.

Fund work experience programmes, recreational and lesiure schemes for youngsters..

Build more council housing..

Kepp open all day and drop in centres.

Increase services for the disabled.

Develop a shopping centre at Heathway...

Increase funding for local groups and museums that promote the interests and character of the borough....

So.... spend, spend, spend with the BNP.

But where's the money coming from for all of this? - especially when nationally whoever wins the next election - there will be huge cuts in funding for local government.

Friday, March 26, 2010

interesting read

Barking MP wannabe Nick Griffin gives some revealing answers in an interview in this month's 'total politics' magazine.

Here are a few excerpts:

Some years ago, you went on an all expenses paid trip to Libya. Has the BNP ever had money from Colonel Gadaffi?

No, we didn't at the time. We got a big crate of green books, which promptly disappeared in customs, so we didn't actually get any.
But you were asking Gadaffi for money, weren't you?

We were asking them for money if they were giving it, yes.

You had no reservation about going to a government that supported terrorists, and asking them for financial support?

We looked at Gadaffi's ideas. A lot of what was said about Gadaffi in all probability is propaganda.....

You have this notion of going back to the 19th century and wanting to impose tariffs on lots of things, which would mean some products would double in price.

Sure, what we're looking at with the redrafting of this is to say, it has to be far more nuanced, that it has to be done over a period of time.

Your core vote, I imagine, is the white working class, not very well-off. This is going to hit them.

That's why it has to be done in a very steady, slow and nuanced fashion. As long as it's creating proper jobs and helping in a rather more closed economy, it's helping to raise the tax base. It's helping families to help themselves not being forced to be a burden on the state. It's going to be a benefit.

What about another one which would hit the same group of people, increasing VAT?

We've never said we're increasing VAT.

I think you'll find you have.

We believe the Labour Party and the Tories without a shadow of a doubt would increase VAT. We know they're going to increase VAT to 20 per cent after this election, and put it on food in harmonisation with Europe so it's coming anyway, and that's wrong. I'm sure we haven't said we'll increase VAT.

You need to read your own literature. How would you cut the national debt?

By stopping bailing out the banks because they've crippled themselves. They should all go to the wall. And we should simply pick up the pieces. That would stop it getting that much worse.

RBS, the Bank of Scotland, Lloyds - you'd have let them all go down the pan?

We'd have let them all go down the pan. And then we'd have nationalised all the assets and turned it into a national reconstruction bank so that where people are still paying mortgages and all the rest, there would be money coming in. We'd have looked after the shareholders and written everybody else off.

But what about national debt?

We would get it down. It's safe to assume there'd be a great reluctance of the assorted financial institutions around the world to lend money to a BNP government, although generally they lend to everybody, don't they?

At a price.

Well, there's a profit to be had, so they certainly would do. We would deal with the fact that we're getting into debt more and more by not being in the European Union.

I still haven't heard what you would do in the next two years to address the huge level of borrowing that we now have.

We would set about eliminating all the sectors of the politically correct servile state that we possibly could, which goes well beyond translators and all the rest of it. We are in a terrible hole. Things have got to be fairly drastic to deal with it. For instance, health and safety inspectors in restaurants, we pay a fortune for them

That would save a pathetic amount.

It isn't made up of a couple of huge sums, this expenditure. It's across the board. It's an example.

How would you reform the benefits system?

By recreating a proper hard industrial base in this country to create real, decent, well paid jobs. That would raise the overall wage rates up and make it worth people's while working so they could afford to work. There are people all around the country who genuinely can't afford to work. It's madness. Once there's work out there that is decently paid and people can take it. If they don't take it and they're fit to work, they can starve.

Can you think of one positive aspect of immigration?

Well, a wide range of curries is a plus. But there again, I've got the recipes.

The reason I ask that is when you look across the range of policies you outline on your website, almost every one you look at - and you demonstrated it earlier with the environmental stuff - leads back to immigration.

It's a fair summary of the situation, as all things are interconnected. Secondly, it's a failing of ours and a failing of quite a lot of our writers, as they are all virtually untrained and virtually all volunteers. They write about things with their own glasses and perspectives on. We'd be better as a propaganda machine if we did have it separated out and even where you could see a connection we didn't point to it. But we're not a spin party.

Even though you like the spin chapter in Mein Kampf so much. In your 2005 manifesto you said: "We will end immigration to the UK and reduce our land's population burden by creating firm but voluntary incentives for immigrants and their descendants to return home." What does "firm" mean and what does "home" mean, because they are quite difficult to define?

Firm would mean that certainly in the case of serious criminals and illegals and people whose right to work was removed. For instance, when we left the European Union, there wouldn't be a choice about it. They would have to go.


If we are talking about the Eastern Europeans, who have got the right to come here, it is obvious where home is. With most people, it is clear where they have come from. If people have entered this country and torn their documents up, then even if they have been granted asylum, they shouldn't have been, and we would reverse that.

But if you don't know where they have come from, you can't return them there.

If you want to, you can virtually find out which village they come from in Africa with DNA tests. Someone has got to take them. But their presence here isn't fair. And it is not legal.

Just because you want to send them somewhere, doesn't mean that the state you want to send them to has to accept them. What do you do if they say no?

Well... we'll find some silly European liberal state which will happily take them. Someone will take them.

You reckon?

Yes, someone will take them.

"Firm but voluntary incentives for immigrants and their descendants to return home..." Is that policy still your policy now?

Yes, broadly so. Let's reword the bit in the case of ones who have no right to be here. It would be firm. It wouldn't be brutal, it would be firm. In the case of people who have come here legally, who are integrated into our society, we would say: "Look it is on the table. If you want to take it, you can take it."

There are about 5.5 million British people who have emigrated or are working abroad. Do you think that the countries in which they live should encourage them to return here?

That is up to them. That's their right. We have African leaders all over Southern Africa, begging Britain to stop poaching our NHS staff. They use them as cheap labour. They often aren't up to the skill levels that are the best that we can produce. Once they have been here, if we could say to those countries: "Here is money for infrastructure and so on. We will help you with foreign aid because you will have a larger population." We would use it partly to undo some of the damage that mass immigration has caused.”

total politics editorial sums up the interview thus:

At a time when Britain is not feeling confident about itself, the BNP is trying to play on emotions of fear and abandonment. Our interview with Nick Griffin contains the familiar rubbish about "bloodlines" being ended and his party's continuing infatuation with Islamophobia and anti-semitism. But beyond those serious points, the policies of this party follow no principle or reason.

Griffin wants to impose arbitrary tariffs on goods, making them more expensive and particularly hitting the less well off. Do people want a supermarket shop that might cost twice as much? He says he'd deal with national debt by getting out of the EU and scrapping health and safety inspectors. That's it, no other answer. He wants to find out which village in Africa asylum-seekers may have come from, using DNA. It's deep-set paranoia rather than offering voters an alternative.

The BNP is a legal political party standing for election. But when its position is scrutinised, it falls apart. The fact is the party is not a serious proposition - at anything. Its record in local government is pathetic; its councillors have a terrible track record in office. It's a tragedy that it is seen as a legitimate protest vote by some.

It was said the best disinfectant for the expenses scandal was transparency. The fact the BNP is racist is well-known. It is time to ensure its policies are transparently clear to voters, and shown to be ill-thought out, back-of-the envelope facades for its deep-set prejudices. We must trust the voters. We still have smaller extremist parties than other countries. But it must be clear that putting a cross by the BNP at the ballot box is no protest - because the party itself has no answers to anything, merely the smell of racism, hate and fear."

Strong stuff and bang on the money -

but just to reiterate - Mr Griffin's rather blase approach to relations to Colonel Gadaffi. Itw as all a big joke.
Tell that to the family of PC Yvonne Fletcher - gunned down by one of the Colonel's London embassy staff in 1984.

And interesting comments about imposing tarrifs which would hit exactly the white working class constituency that Griffin hopes will unseat Margaret Hodge.

And on benefits ...'If they don't take it and they're fit to work, they can starve...' nice.

And when it comes to immigrants - does he plan to DNA test the non-white population in Barking and Dagenham before he sends them home?

Interesting reading - and remember this man wants to be Barking's MP.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

BNP oppose street drinking curb

Who'd have thought that the BNP - the defenders of law and order and champions of safer streets in our borough - would set themselves against the kind of measure that would reduce drink related anti-social behaviour on our streets?

But that's exactly what they did at the council assembly on Wednesday evening - or rather, that's what BNP group leader Bob Bailey did - in the absence of nearly all his colleagues - who clearly had something better to do on the night.

Councillor Bailey at assembly voiced his opposition to council plans to introduce a borough wide alcohol control zone - plans which would give police the power to confiscate booze from rowdy drinkers or those exhibiting anti-social behaviour on borough streets.

Councillor Bailey bemoaned that the measure was 'taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut' and indicative of a 'creeping big brother' - and despite all the indications that local people support the measure to make Barking and Dagenham's streets and public places safer - he went on to state that it made the council's ruling group 'look like fascists.'

Well he would know.

Given the public support for the borough-wide control zone - the BNP's opposition is a little puzzling - clearly one issue where they are out of touch with public opinion.

And another issue where the party for indigenous patriots is a tad out of touch - namely openness and transparency and good conduct of councillors.

Later in the assembly in a discussion of the council's standards board annual report - Mr Bailey along with his sole remaining colleague - decided to walk out when his claim that the council's standards hearings were increasingly politically motivated and that money would be saved if hearings on complaints against councillors were ditched and instead they were given a sound 'ticking off' - fell on deaf ears.

Councillor Bailey is of course no stranger to the issue of complaints against councillors. Indeed he will be attending a hearing on Friday following complaints about comments he made in a council committee about Nigerian churchgoers eating off the floors of their churches.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

So where is the money going?

Yesterday's Evening Standard revealed that BNP leader and Barking MP wannabe has claimed 200,000 in the short time he has been an Euro MEP.

Thi is the man remember, who claimed last year in his election campaign that exisiting MP's and MEP"s had their "snouts in the trough."

He has now published a version of his expenses on his own website but omits to say how much he has claimed of the 270-a-day MEP's subsistence allowance he's allowed to claim and how much he's claimed for travel.

So much for openness -so much for transparency.

And of the two hundred thousand he's pocketed while on the euro gravy train, where do we think most of that cash has ended up?

On leaflets and campaign material in Barking and Dagenham - that's where.

Nothing like trying to buy an election victory Mr Griffin? Shame it's with our money.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Crocodile tears

Touching.... then again maybe not..

And so to this week's Barking and Dagenham Post and a touching letter from BNP council group leader Bob Bailey.

Councillor Bailey in his letter pays tribute to the council (shurely shome mistake)for "doing its bit to honour and remember" Rifleman Martin Kinggett who recently lost his life fighting in Afghanistan.

Bailey also praises the Post for its tribute to the rifleman "who lost his life fighting alongside his comrades in action in Afghanistan," and notes, "Our young soldiers like Martin Kinggett are doing a very difficult job in a country which is far away from here and our lives. His passing at such a young age will leave a big in the lives of those who knew and loved him."

Touching stuff. Until you remember that this is the same Councillor Bailey who not so long ago showed his respect for the UK military by turning up drunk at the council's ceremony to grant the Royal Anglian Regiment, freedom of borough.

And that this is the same councillor Bailey, who to cover up his embarassment, claimed he had been denied entry to the event because he was going to make a speech condemning the involvement of British troops in - you guessed it - Afghanistan.

Funny that councillor Bailey in his letter doesn't quite have the courage of his convictions to repeat his demand that British troops come home - and merely hints that they are 'doing a very difficult job in a country which is far away from here and our lives." (Subtle eh?)

Could this be the same individual who was heard (prior to his ejection from the Freedom of the Borough event) telling senior British army officers that it was time their boys were back in this country to shoot a few muslims?
Nah, couldn't be the same bloke at all....could it?

Either way councillor Bailey's crocodile tears about the death of rifleman Kinggett should be seem for what they are - a less than subtle attempt once again, to link the BNP to genuine public sympathy for combat casualties in Afghanistan.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

read all about it

Very interesting John Harris feature in today's Guardian about the political battle for Barking.

Some choice quotes. We particularly liked:

"But when it comes to patronising judgments of his beloved white working class, Griffin himself isn't wholly in the clear. I read him what he said to two reporters masquerading as French fascists about the white people of London, caught on camera in 1997 by ITV's The Cook Report: "The people who have the brains and ability got out years ago, one way or another. The people who are left are either the 15% of the population who are happy to put up with it, they're so decadent they actually like it, or they're too stupid to do anything about it. They will vote BNP, but you can't build a movement on those people."

"I wasn't talking about this part of London. We were talking about the likes of Brixton and Hackney. People here have still got fight in them."

That still implies a pretty dim view of white people in Brixton and Hackney. "It's not a dim view. I feel very sorry for them. But we can't organise in a place like that. They're good, decent people. But to organise something, you have to have people who've got an unusual flair and spark."

I repeat his words: "They're too stupid to do anything about it." Is he minded to take that back?

"Yes. Yes. I was probably extremely drunk. And I was talking to a Frenchman who didn't speak very good English, so it had to be simplified."

When I ask what the BNP might do with local power, he outlines a "sons and daughters" housing policy, and a few measures – from the teaching of "British values" in schools to unspecified work through local youth clubs – that would aim at "integrating" outsiders into his party's understanding of British life. He mentions "integration" at least twice, so I remind him that, despite being forced to admit non-white members, his party's constitution still says they are "wholly opposed to any form of racial integration between British and non-European peoples". The two don't sit comfortably together, do they? "They don't sit particularly well. But this is practical politics as opposed to… um… ideological perfection."

A more brass-tacks question: are his people up to it? If you look at BNP councillors' attendance records in Barking, even the best-performing one comes in pretty miserably – at number 28 out of 51.

"It will be a hell of a challenge. Bear in mind that if you look at the stats fully, there's plenty of Labour councillors who are far, far worse."

In fact, the bottom seven places are all taken by BNP people. At the last count, the worst performer – one Jamie Jarvis – managed to show up at only 28% of the meetings required.

"Well, Labour councillors don't have to put up with intimidation, the changing of dates and meetings, and not letting people know."

This, according to council leader Liam Smith, is "complete and utter rubbish – these meetings are programmed a year in advance." And even if it were true, the BNP would still be less than blameless. A good example: according to plenty of locals, one BNP councillor spends a good deal of his time running a guest house on the Isle Of Man. Is Griffin familiar with that case?
"I'm familiar with these things, yeah. We're not blameless… At this election, we've got more people wanting to stand than we have places to fight… We'll have a far stronger base than we had before. But inevitably, it's going to be an enormous struggle… at the present, we're knocking up against our upper limits."

There's no excuse for going to only 28% of meetings and still drawing a £10,000 allowance, is there?

"There's not. No. No. Sure…"

In the pub with Nick Griffin, I bring up the reluctance of pensioners round here to vote BNP, based on their memories of the second world war (in any gathering of local seniors, there are scores of people who were bombed out of neighbourhoods such as Stepney and Poplar and given new homes here), and his party's history of neo-Nazism. "We have things there, sure, yeah," he says, though reminders of his own backstory are either denied or dodged. For example: yes, he led a National Front march to the cenotaph in 1986 – alongside people who were Sieg Heiling, according to reports – with a banner that said, "No more brothers' wars", but that was "about the first world war".

When I ask where he now stands on what he once called "nonsense about gas chambers" – surely given even more charge because of Hodge's family history – he pleads the same defence he tried on Question Time: "I genuinely cannot tell you what I used to believe, and why I've changed my mind… three times a month I go through France and Belgium, where you're accessible also to the German courts, and even to say why I've changed my mind and become more mainstream would lay me open to a Communist magistrate."
The subject is batted between us fruitlessly for a few minutes, before we get to the BNP's campaigning in Barking and its apparent habit of telling lies. Late last year, it falsely claimed Hodge had a personal financial interest in plans – since cancelled – to build a new prison in the borough. "That was an error for which I wasn't responsible. I didn't even see it before it was printed. The moment I saw it, we pulled it."


Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Politics No Show

Bloodhounds get ready to pick up the scent of the BNP leader - last seen in Barking... some time ago..

So there we were sitting down in front of the telly of a Sunday lunchtime to watch a live debate confrontation between Margaret Hodge and her BNP challenger Nick Griffin - only to discover that Mr Griffin - having previously said he would take part had decided at the eleventh hour not to appear.

For a man with a love of publicity and a politician who wants his candidature for the Barking election to be high profile - he has a funny way of showing it.

Begs the following questions:

Is Nick Griffin running scared?

Was he reluctant to face media scrutiny of his and his party's plans that could jeopardise their chances in Barking and Dagenham?

Was he worried about the commute from his home in Welshpool in the Welsh border country to the BBC studio in London?

Did he have something better to do?

Was he worried after his carcrash performance on Question Time that he would only let himself and his party down?

Does the Politics Show not have the kind of viewing figures that Mr Griffin wants?

Who knows what the answers are - suffice to say, it speaks volumes about the BNP that they aren't prepared to face a TV audience to defend their policies for the coming elections in May on what would have been the perfect television platform for the BNP.

Tells you lot about how the BNP intend fighting these elections - below the radar - offering little public or media opportunity to scrutinise them about their real agenda for Barking and Dagenham. Relying instead on distorted and inaccurate leaflets and door to door contact in a bid to avoid real scrutiny of their plans...

Hedy it might just work - but it sure as hell isn't open and transparent - which begs one final question - what does Mr Griffin and his mates have to hide.

I think we know the answer to that.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Education, education, education

It's heartwarming to see that the British National Party has acquired an interest in the education of Barking and Dagenham's youngsters.

Recent party leaflets have decried a fall in educational standards in the borough - despite the fact that the borough's schools have just achieved the best exam results on record and that Barking and Dagenham schools are the recipients of some £270 million of government money to make them first class schools.

But hey - give credit where credit's due - the BNP are have expressed an interest in the future of our young folk - so it's good to see that even they are expressing some interest in the education of the Borough's youngsters even if its illinformed, inaccurate and distorted through the prism of far right politics.

But just how far does the BNP's interest in the educational wellbeing of the borough's youngsters extend?

Just how many BNP councillors - out of their twelve strong group on the council - are school governors - like their Labour counterparts?

Answer: None.

Not one BNP councillor is a school governor. Go to the bottom of the class Mr Bailey and Mr Barnbrook.

Putting aside whether any borough school would want a BNP supporting governor for one moment - it undermines somewhat the BNP's professed interest in all things education, does it not? That not a single BNP councillor has hands on experience of helping local schools to build for the future.

With some BNP councillors, it's easy to see that they might not want to get involved with schools in their community - after all they do next to no case work on other issues - so why should education be any different. Step forward the Doncasters......

Maybe this also explains why the BNP group's alternative budget had nothing to say about education or the schooling of the borough's young people.

The BNP like to talk about the issues that matter to local people - in their leaflets and on the doorstep - but when it comes down to it - actually involving themselves in the day to day running of the schools and investment in the borough's educational establishments, they are nowhere to be seen...

Speaks volumes about their real commitment to the community doesn't it?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

leopards and their spots

Last Wednesday the BNP presented their alternative budget at Barking and Dagenham's council assembly. The budget was notable less for what it said and rather what it didn't spell out.

The BNP in a bid to appear more like the human race, ditched the more loony policy platforms of the recent past (whatever happened the caravan park to provide social housing?)and aside from a daft commitment to slash council spending over the next five years to reduce the council tax to make it the lowest in the capital - they basically did a cut and paste job on the ruling Labour group's budget.

But the mask did slip just a little bit.... Surprise, surprise not only did they seek to wipe out the council's equality and diversity teams - they also sought to halve corporate grant funding for voluntary groups in the borough by £400,000. No mention this year though what specific groups they would like to see not getting money....mmh.. let me guess .... could they possibly be groups that help asylum seekers or ethnic communities?

Well, we'll never know, because strangely, in this an election year the BNP showed a marked reluctance to tell the good people of Barking and Dagenham exactly what they'd cut. (Can't think why)
But hey, maybe they've changed and post egm they've truly embraced multiculturalism and the political mainstream and they genuinely are committed to fiscal rectitude.

Then again, maybe not.